Monday, June 10, 2019

Some vertical antenna radial reading

Everyone agrees. A quarter wavelength vertical antenna without a radial system is a pretty poor performer. Sure, the VSWR might look OK but that's no indication of its efficiency.

You'll probably make some local contacts but signal reports will likely be down on even basic horizonal antennas. And DX performance will fall well short of the great reports that vertical antenna exponents rave about. 

The hard fact is that you will need to do something about what's underneath the antenna for it to become an efficient radiator. Unfortunately that requires quite a lot of work. Possibly more than what you exerted to erect the antenna itself.  

What should one do? That just raises more questions. Eg Many or few? Long or short? Resonant or not? Buried or raised? Maybe a short counterpoise would be OK? 

Before digging, rolling out or building I suggest some reading. Here's some places to start:  

* N6LF's closer look at vertical antennas with elevated ground systems & also this

* VE2CV's vertical monopoles with elevated radials (sound advice from another expert)

* W8JI on counterpoise systems

* The mystery of radials

* Owen Duffy's radial comparisons
What are your experiences with radial or counterpoise systems? What worked and what didn't? I'd enjoy reading your thoughts in the comments box below.

PS: Want to get more from amateur radio? This book can help. Available in electronic and paperback form, exploring the facets suggested will keep you entertained for hours. Find out more at vk3ye . com or search the title on Amazon. 

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